A dad has started a petition to end the penalty fines for taking your children out of school for holidays during term time.
In his official petition to the government, Dave Hedley details how he and his wife were both given a fine each for taking their two eldest children out of school for five days during term time. The sum totted up to £240 on their arrival back from being away. This total is the standard £60 per child, per parent.
The holiday, Dave explains, was a break to help his wife get over breast cancer, an illness that he says the school knew about. The petitioning father would like to see the school holiday policy reverted to the previous model that saw 10 days of authorised absences allowed for each pupil, granted at the head teacher’s discretion.
Dave’s feelings obviously resonate with a lot of other parents as his plea has gathered more than 140,000 signatures since he created it just four days ago, which means it must now be debated in parliament. The couple’s fines have since been dropped but the father of three will continue to fight the policy it seems.
Dave, whose petition was mostly shared by parents in the Manchester area where his family are from, spoke to the Manchester Evening News to say, ‘It shows that with determination and support we can have our voice heard in Parliament. I shall continue in striving to gain as much support as I can to help others on this issue.’
Speaking to the Daily Star Dave elaborated on the circumstances of the family’s holiday, saying, ‘We got surprised during the Easter half-term period – obviously the school was closed so the only way of informing them was on email.
‘It was a much-needed break.’
Dave’s wife Jules, 39, said: ‘The children attend regularly and under any circumstances.
‘I was going through a really hard time and to me it felt like the children were being denied the days to forget about everything.’
Dave’s campaign comes shortly after the news that a holiday outside of term time can often be twice the price of a holiday just before the schools breakup. The survey by FairFX found companies ‘exploit’ parents by hiking up the prices to popular destinations such as Tenerife, Majorca and the Algarve.